Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Review and GIVEAWAY of A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

Paris in the late 1800's​ during the Belle Epoque​, antique furniture and paintings, and journals from an apartment's original inhabitant.  All of these things made A PARIS APARTMENT a book that will keep you glued to the pages.

Who wouldn't want to go to Paris?  April was an art history major and an auctioneer. When her boss told her she would be going to Paris to put value on an apartment's contents that had been closed up for 70 years, she couldn't pass up the chance even though her marriage was a bit rocky.

When April found the journals of Marthe de Florian, they made the apartment’s contents even more valuable and the book quite enticing. The journals told about Marthe de Florian's life and her connection and relationships with artists and other famous people.

Famous people such as Victor Hugo and Giovanni Boldini were part of the book's intrigue.  Marthe de Florian had quite a colorful life.
A PARIS APARTMENT was a bit rough getting started, but once the journals were found, they and the Parisian atmosphere ​drew you into the era and its living style.

​A PARIS APARTMENT is based on a real apartment and a real person.  Ms. Gable
did a great deal of research and weaves the story so masterfully that you don't even know it is history, but it definitely revealed a wonderful hidden part of Paris.

For a debut novel, the writing ​and storyline were marvelous.  A PARIS APARTMENT has beautiful, descriptive writing, and the journals made it oh so good.  

April’s rocky marriage seemed to be a side story, but the apartment, its contents, and the journals are historical aspects that I thoroughly enjoyed and what kept me reading.  

The ending was marvelous as April met an eighty-seven-year-old family member of Marthe de Florian who fills in the gaps of Marthe’s life.  

ENJOY, and don't give up too early.  :) 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an  honest review.

Giveaway has ended


June 30 to July 7


Author Spotlight and Giveaway of The Judge's Story, Kindle Fire, and Amazon Gift Cards

About the Judge's Story
This book sounds WONDERFUL, and the giveaway is AMAZING!!

Thank you, Ms. Strand

A Superior Court Judge with a passion for social justice as well as the law strives to discover the truth behind the mystery of a robbery-murder in a small California town in 1939.

When the Judge hears testimony against a 14-year-old teenager, he realizes that the boy participated in a robbery-murder. 

However, the accused did not actually pull the trigger. But unless the boy identifies his partner, the Judge must sentence him as a murderer, which would result in prolonged jail time.

The Judge’s investigator, along with the precocious 16-year-old girl who identified the boy as one of the thieves, explore different approaches to uncover the murderer. 

In the backdrop of escalating war in Europe, the financial scarcities of the Great Depression, and the Judge’s caseload, their attempts to find justice for the accused boy and unmask the killer lure the Judge and his friends into sordid criminal activities.

About Joyce Strand

Mystery author Joyce T. Strand, much like her fictional character, Jillian Hillcrest, served as head of corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. 

Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder. Rather, she focused on publicizing her companies and their products. She is the author of the Jillian Hillcrest mysteries ON MESSAGE, OPEN MEETINGS, and FAIR DISCLOSURE and the Brynn Bancroft mystery HILLTOP SUNSET. 

Strand received her Ph.D. from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA. 

She currently lives in Southern California with her two cats, a collection of cow statuary and art, and her muse, the roadrunner.

About The Giveaway

1st Prize:  Kindle Fire HD7 or Kindle Paperwhite
2nd Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card and ebook or paperback copy of The Judge’s Story

3rd Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card and ebook or paperback copy of The Judge’s Story

from June 30 until July 5


About The Reason For The Book

Inspiration or Opportunity?
Joyce T. Strand

“We discovered my grandfather’s memoir in his attic. Before becoming a Superior Court Judge, he was a law partner of Erle Stanley Gardner – maybe you’ve heard of him? He wrote the Perry Mason series. Gardner thought my grandfather should write his story because he had such an interesting life.”—Lou Drapeau, grandson of Superior Court Judge Louis Drapeau, the inspiration for The Judge’s Story.

Do you know that feeling when you’ve just received an opportunity to do something significant? Well, that’s how I felt when my friend told me about his grandfather’s memoir at lunch one day. I did try to keep the excitement out of my voice when I asked if I could have a copy, but was delighted when he agreed to send it to me.

I read the memoir several times. (For those interested: Louis C. Drapeau, Senior; Autobiography of a Country Lawyer; 1941; available at the Museum of Ventura County/Library, 100 E. Main St., Ventura CA 93001).

What stopped me from proceeding with my own story about this distinguished judge was that I couldn’t think of any way to improve on the memoir. He chronicles his life and tells of a teenager basically disowned by a stepfather and his biological father who managed to support himself doing odd jobs as a cowboy, muleskinner, Borax 20 mule team driver and dockhand.

Eventually he met and worked for a Senator, earned a law degree from Georgetown Law School, settled in Ventura, Calif., practiced law, and became a Superior Court Judge by the late 1930s. A compelling story in its own right!

Besides not immediately envisioning a unique story, I was also busy writing and publishing my current-day mysteries. So I put off telling the judge’s story, but he stayed somewhere in my mind percolating. What could I write about a judge who lived in the mid-20th century that would be distinctive but capture this interesting person?

Well, I reminded me that I’m a mystery writer. So I could write a mystery. But how could I integrate a judge from the first half of the 20th century into an intriguing mystery for today’s readers?

The answer came to me from the judge’s memoir. First, he clearly told me who he was—his values, beliefs, emotional makeup, and ethics. So I developed my fictional Judge Grover Roswell Akers using attributes of the actual judge.

Next, the actual judge discussed the issues that were important in the legal system in the 1930s—the growing prevalence of rehabilitation as part of the penal system. He also expressed opinions on how to keep boys from becoming criminals and had an avid interest in helping juveniles.

Ah, ha! Surely I could produce a mystery based on juvenile crime and debate over how to deal with these young criminals.  Although the case in my mystery is fictional, the actual judge’s statements about the impact of the times sparked the idea for it, i.e., the Great Depression, on juvenile crime.

Finally, the memoir offered the judge’s opinions on a variety of subjects, such as, the value of history, perspective on WWII, and reflections on reading and education—all attributes I could explore to enhance my characters. I did supplement the back-story with additional research into the events in 1939 in Ventura, Calif., but, again, the judge’s actual statements motivated the mosaic pieces that enabled me to build the fictional characters.

I concluded that the real judge was a bit of a hero. As an attorney, he defended Mexican-Americans who he believed were not treated fairly—often without compensation for representing them. He also worked to create fairer laws. For example, he believed that the punishment in Ventura County for killing cattle was far too severe and did not match the crime. And he admonished those who would become attorneys to be careful of the type of people they defended, for they would become associated with their clients. He also feared for a system of justice that relied on people like him to be a judge, but, in the end, if the evidence or the law was not clear, he did what he believed was right.

Yes, I wrote a fictional mystery, because that’s what I do. However, I also intended that the story about this fictional judge should pay tribute to the actual judge who inspired it. 



About The Social Links

Webpage:        http://joycestrand.com
Blog:                Http://strandssimplytips.blogspot.com
Twitter:           @joycetstrand


About Where to Purchase

The Judge’s Story Paperback and Kindle Editions – June 23, 2015  


Monday, June 29, 2015

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave Review and GIVEAWAY

Did you know it takes eight hundred grapes to make one bottle of wine?

That ​apparently is the best-kept secret of wine makers just like there were a lot of secrets the Ford family and other characters were not revealing.

EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES was an easy, enjoyable read.  I liked the information about vineyards because we have a grape arbor, but nothing that would turn our grapes into wine.  ​:)​

Georgia the main character was a bit wishy washy for an attorney, but you couldn't blame her when she found out the secret her fiance was keeping from her.

Her brothers were ​unusual, and I didn't like them.  Georgia's parents and what was going on with her mother was quite strange.

As the book continued, EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES moved from one family drama to another, but the book did keep my interest.  I actually was more interested in seeing what was going to happen to the winery than ​what was going to happen to all the relationship upheavals.

EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES will appeal to women's fiction fans.  The writing was breezy and fun, but the plot was a bit predictable.

I would recommend EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES for a quick, summer beach read.  ​4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.​
Giveaway of Book and Mug
Contest Has Ended
Winner is:

Kimberly - #24

June 29 - July 6


Enter Here

Good Luck!!


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Is This T-Shirt Clever or What?

The Reading Room | Book Recommendations & Online Book Discovery

I found this article on The Reading Room's Site and on their Facebook page on June 23, 2015.  

Click here to see the full article with other clever ideas.

I also like the Library Embosser, Personal Library Kit, and "Library Of" Vintage Art Labels.

Stop by The Reading Room's site and find everything you need when it comes to books.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Review and Giveaway of Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal

The 1960's, New Orleans, a matriarch, a girl without a daddy, housekeepers, families, and secrets.

Ibby was moved to her grandmother's home after her father passed away so her mother could have some time to herself.  Ibby had never seen her grandmother before nor had she known about her until a week before this move.  Ibby was frightened especially since she heard stories about her strict grandmother from her mother.

Ibby met Queenie and Doll before meeting her grandmother. Queenie and Doll are the staff in Grandmother Fannie's house.  They are very loving and caring and huddle around Ibby and take good care of her when Fannie can’t. 

The characters in DOLLBABY were ones I fell in love with along with Ibby, whose real name was Liberty Bell.  Ibby was an understandably sad young lady for a twelve-year old with a heartbreaking story.

Queenie and Doll were warmhearted, Fannie was rough on the outside but loving on the inside with a past that was kept secret as well as a few other secrets that made the ending superb.   Birdelia was sweet even though she was kept out of sight most of the time and had a story of her own. Well…just about every character had a story that was kept under wraps.

If you love Southern fiction with a Gone-With-The-Wind feeling, you will love DOLLBABY.  We the reader follow Fannie, Ibby, Queenie, Doll, and Birdelia in their day-to-day activities during the time of The Civil Rights Movement.

DOLLBABY is an engaging, beautiful debut novel with amazing description, terrific, authentic characters, and a true-to-life storyline.  The cover itself will pull you in and will keep you reading. 

Historical fiction fans and fans of family sagas will not want to put DOLLBABY down and will miss the characters when the book ends.  The ending was filled with revelations and proves family is everything even though they might have secrets.

Add DOLLBABY to your reading list this summer.  I know you will love it too.  It is going to be a favorite read for this year. The characters are what made DOLLBABY special.

I truly enjoyed this book.  I hope you can read it too.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.
Contest has ended, and the winner is:

Jennifer - #33

Thanks to all who entered. 

Enter here for the giveaway.


June 24 - July 1

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams

Secrets.  We all have them, don’t we?  But some secrets are a bit larger than others.

Tiny had a secret from her past that she definitely didn't want to be revealed especially since her husband was running for the Senate. But what ​is she going to be do with the photographs that keep appearing in her mailbox along with the blackmail notes.

Then when the ​person she thinks sent the photographs appears at a family gathering, things start to get sticky.

TINY LITTLE THING is a book that has characters that are high brow and not trustworthy.  Tiny married Frank because her mother wanted her to marry him not because she loved Frank.  Frank married Tiny just because of her family status.  Caspian, the cousin, was at the center of it all, and the secrets Tiny held revolved around Caspian.  Frank's secrets were secrets every wife dreads are true.

TINY LITTLE THING takes the reader back and forth through the years with background information that connects all the dots and keeps the reader interested simply because you want to see how these folks live in high society and when and if the secrets will be revealed.

TINY LITTLE THING has the Schu​yl​er sisters as two of the main characters, but it is not necessary to have read Ms. Williams' previous books to be able to follow the storyline.​ Tiny's sister, Pepper, brings a bit of disruption to the family and especially to Tiny, but she was always like that.​

TINY LITTLE THING is for those readers who love family secrets and family dynamics.  ​I enjoyed TINY LITTLE THING simply because Ms. Williams knows how to tell an intriguing story with drama as well as facts.  Her writing just pulls you  in.

​TINY LITTLE THING is a great summer read with an ending that is oh so good.  

Don't forget to pack TINY LITTLE THING in your beach bag.  4/5

​This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.​

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Top Book Club Picks in May

Found this list in Shelf Awareness Pro's Monday, June 15, E-mail Newsletter and wanted to share.

I have read only a few of the books.  There are some I definitely want to read and know I am missing out on.

I have read:

Orphan Train
The Husband's Secret
Ordinary Grace

How about you?   What have you read?


Top Book Club Picks in May

The following were the most popular book club books during May based on votes from more than 120,000 book club readers from more than 39,000 book clubs registered at Bookmovement.com:

1. The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins
2. All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr
3. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin
4. The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simison
5. Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline
6. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
7. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
8. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
9. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
10. Ordinary Grace: A Novel by William Kent Krueger

Rising Stars:

At the Water's Edge: A Novel by Sara Gruen
Go Set a Watchman: A Novel by Harper Lee

*Image courtesy of:


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman

This book looks very good.  I picked it up at the BEA, and I am looking forward to reading it.

Back in January, Atria told us to mark our calendars for MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY. They loved the book and had a suspicion that everyone else would, too.


They were right! Backman’s sophomore effort has been named a Library Reads Selection, an Indie Next Pick and the best of the month by Apple. As if that wasn’t enough, the critics have fallen in love. Take a look:


“A delectable homage to the power of stories to comfort and heal, Backman’s tender tale of the touching relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter is a tribute to the everlasting bonds of deep family ties.”
Booklist (starred)

“Touching, sometimes funny, often wise…. Firmly in league with Roald Dahl and Neil Gaiman.”
Kirkus Reviews

“In his second offering, Backman (A Man Called Ove) continues to write with the same whimsical charm and warm heart as in his debut.”
Publishers Weekly

MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY begins with a letter.  Or, more precisely, a series of letters.

Elsa’s grandmother, like Elsa is different. When she’s not sneaking contraband into her hospital room, she’s sneaking out to take Elsa on adventures. She’s Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

Elsa and her grandmother are knights of the Kingdom of Miamas, conquering dragons and finding treasures—small exploits, as it turns out. When Elsa’s grandmother dies, she leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged that Elsa must deliver, leading Elsa’s to greatest adventure ever.  The letters lead her to an apartment building full of all sorts of characters—and to the truth about fairytales and a grandmother like no other.


Fredrik Backman is a Swedish blogger and columnist. A Man Called Ove, his first novel, has sold more than 500,000 copies in its native country and has been published in more than twenty-five languages all over the world. His second novel, My Grandmother Sent Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, is on sale today!

We confess when we finished MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY we cried. Elsa’s voice was so moving and her story, about the right to be different, so poignant, that we couldn’t wait to tell you about it.




Atria Books | 384 pages | ISBN 9781501115066, $25 | June 16, 2015

Death In Salem by Eleanor Kuhns

Traveling through Salem on his way home, ​Will ​Rees encounters an old friend and becomes involved in a murder investigation at the request of his friend, Twig.

Rees wonders how he became involved in this investigation when all he wanted was to go home and see his wife, Lydia.   Could he bring her here to help?

​I enjoyed the time period DEATH IN SALEM was set in but am glad I didn't live then.  Horse and buggies, no phones,​ women who had to stay home, women who were not allowed to be educated, some women who couldn't eve​n read​.  What a time to be a man, right?

Being a man meant being a sailor or a merchant in this town. And being a wealthy merchant in this case was bad for Jacob Boothe.  His wealth may have been what got him murdered.

But, who was the murderer of not one but now two people and then a third? Could Will figure it out or is his investigation putting him in danger.

It took a few pages to become part of the story, but I enjoyed DEATH IN SALEM.  I liked the characters and the storyline. The characters perfectly portrayed the era.  The storyline kept me guessing until the end. The wrap up and solving of the murder was unique.

The storyline definitely held my interest, and I am going try some of Ms Kuhn's other books.  Murder and mishaps prevailed along with authentic characters who got the job done.

DEATH IN SALEM is a book historical fiction and murder fans do not want to miss.   4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Finding Audrey and A Finding Audrey Coffee Sleeve Giveaway

Reviewers praise Finding Audrey:
black sunglasses The Glambition[1]

“An outstanding tragicomedy that gently explores mental illness, the lasting effects of bullying, and the power of friends and loving family to help in the healing.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred

“Kinsella’s knack for humor and sensitivity shine in a story that should easily expand her already substantial fan base.” – Publishers Weekly

“With her trademark wit and sass, Kinsella sensitively broaches the complexities of young adult mental health.”—Booklist 

Join in the fun and enter the giveaway for FINDING AUDREY and A FINDING AUDREY COFFEE SLEEVE.


JUNE 15 - JUNE 22

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

America's Most Well-Read Cities

I found this in Shelf Awareness Pro's Newsletter on June 3, 2016, and thought it would be interesting to share.

My city didn't make the list.  Did yours?

Seattle, where Amazon's corporate headquarters is located, led the online retailer's fifth annual list of the "most well-read cities in the U.S." 

The ranking was determined by compiling sales data for all book, magazine and newspaper sales in both print and Kindle format from April 2014 to April 2015, on a per capita basis in cities with more than 500,000 residents. 

This year's top 20: 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Eyes On You by Kate White

All eyes on you every night on your TV show can sometimes be hazardous to your health as Robin Trainer has found out.

Was someone jealous of Robin's success or was Robin imagining all the death threats and incidents happening to her at the TV station.  Hate notes, voodoo dolls, poison-laced makeup, drug-laced brownies, what else can happen?
As you follow Robin through her days, you will feel her terror at thinking someone is following her or share her fear of wondering what is going to happen next.
The characters in EYES ON YOU were all a suspicious lot and pretty cut throat.  You never knew who you could trust.
I was very leery of most of the characters.  I thought this one was the culprit then I thought no, this one must be it.  EYES ON YOU wasn't gripping, but it was good.  It definitely kept me turning the pages and guessing until the end.

This is the first book I have read by Kate White. I enjoyed EYES ON YOU, but I wouldn't call it a terrifying thriller.  I would call it an intriguing thriller.   4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in return for an honest review.


About Kate White

Kate White, the former editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, is the New York Times bestselling author of the stand-alone novels HushThe Sixes, and Eyes on You, as well as the Bailey Weggins mystery series. She is editor of The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. She is also the author of popular career books for women, including I Shouldn't Be Telling You This: How to Ask for the Money, Snag the Promotion, and Create the Career You Deserve.

Find out more about Kate at her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Books I Am Looking Forward To Reading

I am thrilled with all of the books I received at the BEA, but there are a few that I am really looking forward to reading.

Out of this stack, I am most excited about:

THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND by Katarina BivaldSourcebooks was raving about it. 

HOUSE OF THIEVES by Charles Belfoure.  Another book Sourcebooks raved about.

HANGING MARY by Susan Higginbotham.

WE NEVER ASKED FOR WINGS by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.

THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE by Melanie Benjamin.  She wrote The Aviator's Wife.  The cover is GORGEOUS.  

Out of this stack, I am most excited about:

THE BEES by Laline Paull.  

SECRET SISTERS by Jane Ann Krentz

THE SECRET CHORD Geraldine Brooks.

And in this stack, I am excited about:



How many of these books are you looking forward to reading?  Curious minds want to know.

Thanks for stopping by Silver's Reviews.


All Souls Trilogy Board Game Giveaway

Penguin has created a gorgeous, limited-edition All Souls Trilogy Board Game (see pictures here, here, here, and here) and will be giving 10 board games away via their Twitter @PenguinPbks over the course of the next two weeks (among other great All Souls prizes). 

These will be random giveaways taking place on Thursday 6/4

To enter, check the Penguin Twitter during the mornings (ET) on those days and be sure to re-tweet the giveaway post by 4:30 p.m. ET—Penguin will be randomly selecting winners around 5 p.m. from among the people who re-tweet.

Best of Luck!!  Looks like fun.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Guess The Desk and Win a Copy of This Author's Book

Below is a photo of the desk—well, bed—this wonderful author uses to write her bestselling novels.
SS Desk Photo - TADEMY (2)

GUESS THE DESK/BED of this famous author, and win a paperback copy of her book pictured below.

It is a not-getting-it-wrong choice.  :)


Thanks to all who entered

The winner was #3 - Carol



June 3 to June 10

CITIZENS CREEK by Lalita Tademy


Lalita Tademy

Lalita Tademy is the author Cane River, a New York Times bestselling novel and the 2001 Oprah Book Club Summer Selection, and its critically acclaimed sequel Red River. She lives in Northern California.

I have read CANE RIVER and loved it.  I haven't had a chance to read CITIZENS CREEK yet but hope to along with its sequel, RED RIVER.


Atria Books | 432 pages | Paperback ISBN 9781476753041, $16 | June 2, 2015